Celebrating Words!

Continuing our celebration of words!

Words we never want to lose:

Dr. Rowan Williams says, ‘I’d propose ‘translucent’ – not just for its meaning but because it has one of the most beautiful sound sequences in the language; c.f. Milton’s Comus, ‘Under the glassy, cool, translucent wave’, which wins my prize for the most musical line in English poetry.’

Favourite words borrowed from another language

Phill Jupitus writes, ‘I have always loved deja vu. That oddly strange and unsettling experience it describes is so transient, yet one can also apply it to the grinding day to day repetition of moments in one’s own life. I think it’s a shame that some in France took against certain English phrases being used over here, such as le weekend. I’m very fond of that kind of linguistic appropriation between adjacent cultures.’
George Szirtes: Hussar, from Hungarian
John Burnisde: Hinterland. (From German)
Sybil Ruth: Chutzpah. (I’m Jewish and love Yiddish words.)
Sarah James: frisson – palpable, exciting, no other word comes quite so close to shiver of such a moment
Steve Ely: ‘Viveza’ – (contraction of viveza criolla’ – Spanish) For me it’s the defiant, oppositional, anti-authoritarian, unorthodox, undefeated and undefeatable spirit that ought to inform poetry.
Togara Muzanehnhamo: A favourite word of mine is ‘Sanaa’ – means ‘art’ in Swahili and ‘brilliance/radiance’ in Arabic.

If you enjoy language then come along to Versopolis: Celebrating Emerging European Poets on Sunday 5 July. And/or our day of World Poetry on Sunday 12 July featuring the Korean poet Ko Un, Canadian Karen Solie and Jane Yeh, Russian Marina Boroditskaya and the wonderful Togara Muzanenhamo.

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